Carmelo Anthony is still the face of Jordan Brand’s ever-growing stable of NBA stars. He’s the longest tenured hoops star on their roster, and has reached the 12th iteration of his signature line (second only to Michael Jordan himself with the iconic brand) with January’s release of the Melo M12.
Anthony’s shoe has always pushed the limits of performance, no matter how the shoe looked. It appears that Jordan Brand have hit another performance winner with this latest iteration. Many feel it’s Melo’s best looking shoe in years, and it has all the right tech included to make your experience on the hardwood first class.
Anthony has been wearing the shoe on-court since late last year (“It felt great,” he told starting5online when we asked him about it when he debuted it at the Garden), and it was released to the general public on Jan. 2 this year.
We performance tested the model, so keep reading as we break down how it performed on-court.
The Melo M12 fits true-to-size. The biggest difference between the M12 and the M11 model we tested last year is the materials. Last year’s ‘Concrete Jungle’ edition of the M11 we tested was comprised of a mainly synthetic upper, while this year’s model has moved to a dynamic engineered mesh and leather upper – one that’s very similar to the Super.Fly 4 we recently reviewed. A mesh, or woven, upper is where it’s at these days performance wise. Even though the M11’s synthetic upper performed like a normal leather would, it still required a small break-in time, whereas the M12 is good to go straight out of the box. The mesh will conform to your foot very quickly. Durability will be an issue – you should still be able to get a prolonged period of time out of it before you’ll need new a pair – but it won’t last as long as a synthetic-based upper.
The M12 has a webbed lacing system for superior lockdown, and coupled with extra foam pads in the heel’s interior (a first for the Melo line), add to the shoe’s lockdown. You can feel the compression around the ankle as soon as you lace them up. The heel counter isn’t as thick or sturdy as previous models (see both the M10 and M11), but that doesn’t affect lockdown thanks to aforementioned interior pods.
There’s no foot slippage once properly contained.
Jordan Brand have done an amazing job on pretty much all their performance shoes ever since the Air Jordan XX8. I can’t recall having tested a shoe with wack traction in that time-frame; the M12 is no different.
The multi-directional outsole features a nice pliable rubber which works well on all surfaces, just like the M11. Only difference I noticed – and this is just a slight difference I’ll add – is that the M12 seemed to collect dust easier than the M11. Not a big issue as a few wipes clears that up pretty easily.
Unlike the M11, the M12’s rubber won’t allow it to be as durable outdoors.
The cushioning on the M12 is where my opinion differs from most people’s M12 thoughts. Upon our initial wear test at Terminal 23 in New York, I felt like it was the best ever cushioning system on a Melo shoe. Jordan Brand have used FlightSpeed tech, which is basically the same thing as FlightPlate that has been featured heavily on previous models, but after a few wears it seemed like the responsiveness wasn’t as noticeable as the M11. Impact protection is great in the heel, but the forefoot felt a little flat.
Even the Super.Fly 4, I felt, distributed the responsive bounce from Unlocked Zoom across the foot much more evenly than the M12 – that’s not to say the M12 is bad, it just seemed better in the other models.
Breathability was pretty good on the M11, but it’s much better on the M12, given the materials used. If you’ve hooped in the SF4 you’ll know exactly what to expect here. It’s a breathable mesh over a light structural foam so ventilation is not an issue.
The M12 is a versatile shoe. It’s designed for a guy who’s 6’8 and can play both like a guard on the perimter, and also one who can mix it up with bigger players when he needs to. So whether you’re a quicker guard making a lot of lateral cuts and movements, or a post player who doesn’t venture out of the paint too much, you’ll still get great value for your dollar from this shoe.
The most appealing part of the M12? Jordan Brand have cut the cost from $160 for last year’s model, down to $135 for the M12, which means you’re getting a premium-level shoe at an affordable price.